DEAR KELLY: My boyfriend lives with just his dad, and his friends always kind of flop there. It’s the crash house after his friends have been partying. People just randomly show up there all the time to either smoke, drink or hang out and eat food. In the past, “Patrick” never cared. But now that we’re in a serious relationship, it’s starting to be a problem.
Last week, he and I hung out and went to a place that you can just see the stars and talk. He dropped me off at home and when he got to his house there were like six or seven guys there just waiting for a bunch of girls to come over. Patrick texted me and said he didn’t know what to do because they were kind of having a party at the house.
I was OK until he told me that girls were coming over and they had beer. Then I kind of freaked out. I told Patrick to kick them out and that it’s not OK for him to have a house full of girls and beer without his girlfriend there. He didn’t want to kick his friends out and asked if I wanted to come over. He said he would come pick me up, but my parents said no because it was already 11:30. Patrick said he went to his room, but I know he didn’t because I saw one of his friend’s Snapchats and he was sitting on the couch with everyone.
I really like Patrick and I want to stay with him, but I can’t handle it if every weekend there is going to be a party and drunk girls at his house. I know he’s not a cheater, but I know how pushy girls can be all over guys when they are drunk. I don’t trust the slutty girls that his friends call to come hang out with them.
Patrick says he’s tired of all of it, but that it’s hard because his buddies are like family to him. If he kicks them out, they will probably start hating me, and that could be really awkward. I don’t really know if they are his friends or just like him because he has the house to go to.
He wants his friends to like me, but I don’t really care if they do or if they don’t. I just want to feel like my boyfriend can be home without a bunch of people coming over at all hours to crash at his house without me there. Patrick says if he tells his friends that, they will say I’m controlling and tell him to dump me.
What should we do? Neither of us knows what to do.
DEAR GIRLFRIEND: I’m not sure there is a lot you can do; most of this falls into what is Patrick ready to do. You can tell him how you feel (“It makes me uncomfortable that you are home with a lot of drunk people”) or offer him suggestions (“Perhaps you can tell your friends that you are in a relationship and you don’t want everyone just thinking they can bring the party to your house because it’s not OK anymore”) or give him an alternative idea (“How about you lock your doors when you aren’t home so people just can’t come in when you aren’t home”) or help him come up with a way to end this flophouse thing if he is ready (“Sorry, guys, my dad says no more. You have to party somewhere else because my dad is done with everyone always being at our house”). There are solutions if Patrick is ready to throw the hammer down and stick by his words.
If Patrick is as done as he says he is, he needs to examine these “friends” and make sure they are real friends and not just using him for a place to party. How does he do this? Shut the parties down for a while. Stop letting people come party or hang whenever they want and see if he is still included and invited. Put some boundaries down and see if the “friends” respect and honor his wishes.
True friends would hear him and appreciate what rules he has for his house now. Fake friends will still try to come party there and put pressure on Patrick to continue to let the good times roll at his house. Setting boundaries can help us to see who respects us and who is using us for their own benefit.
You can’t force Patrick to do anything he isn’t ready to do and you don’t want to offer an ultimatum (“It’s them or me”). The decision about his house needs to be all his. Patrick might not have the inner strength to set good boundaries with his friends. If that’s the case, you have to make a tough decision.
Patrick might not be ready for change and could be more afraid of losing his friends than of losing you. If that’s the case, decide if you want to worry about this every weekend and if you want to put yourself through this if he isn’t ready to stand up to his friends. Why ruin all of your weekends with worry if he continues to allow his friends to crash and party whenever they want?
Tell Patrick that while you care about him, perhaps you share different goals for right now. Tell him you need to make a choice to give yourself peace and not to worry about what is going on at his house. Let him know it’s not because he did anything wrong, but more because you need to take care of yourself and find peace within your heart.